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Tendonitis and Bursitis: Knowing the Difference

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kids playing footballBlue 42! Hut-hut! The NFL Preseason wraps up next week, with the first game of the regular season set for Thursday, September 4. With all the sprinting, blocking, and tackling taking place, there’s bound to be an injury or two. In fact, tendonitis is a common football injury. The hard part is knowing the difference between tendonitis and bursitis.

It’s important to distinguish between these two conditions to know how severe your problems may become. They can often appear together, but sometimes they don’t.  

Achilles tendinitis—inflammation of the tendon—carries more serious consequences. It usually shows up in the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the foot. When it’s ignored, it can lead to a complete rupture of the tendon. This type of injury could take you out for the entire football season.

With bursitis, the inflammation is located in a sac of fluid located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone. These sacs normally help the tendon flow over the bone, but when they’re inflamed they can become painful.

Both conditions are caused by overuse or an injury to the area. People who don’t exercise a lot and athletes whose sports involve a lot of sprints and jumping are most at risk.

Each of these problems should be seen by a podiatrist. The initial treatment is mostly the same, depending on where the condition is located. The first thing you’ll want to do is rest and ice the ankle. We may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the pain and swelling. Braces, massages, and stretching are additional conservative methods. If we need to take more serious steps, we might administer steroid injections to the problem area or suggest surgery.

The chronic inflammation from both tendonitis and bursitis can lead to a lot of damage in the area. Make sure you get into McDowell Podiatry Group so we can help you with exercises, stretches, orthotics, and other more serious procedures. To make an appointment, call our Carmichael, CA, office at (916) 961-3434. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest! 

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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